On an early sunday morning, my housemate Rick and I set off toward Long Beach to visit the Aquarium of the Pacific. We had been talking about going for nearly 2 years, and we finally got to it. Under the cover of grey clouds, we hopped the silver steed down towards the Long Beach. It was Rick's first time on the metro, he enjoyed it. The rides are always entertaining. I swam in idea of cultural diplomacy and exchange predicated on the Mexican Consulate taking LA graffiti artists down to Guadalajara and Mexico City to study muralism art work, then Mexican Consulate-sponsored mural projects on their return to the angels. True cultural diplomacy and exchange. It would be stunning in its fiery colorful brilliance.
We wandered through the Long Beach 500, as the city had been turned into a Daytona-like environ. We arrived to the giant fish tank and enjoyed our adventure under the deep. In front of a huge tank, I realized with amazement that the giant sea bass were staring back at me. I could see and feel them processing. They literally stopped right in front of me and stayed still staring. Really, it was an amazing realization that some of the fishies were really processing what was in front of them, as I could sense them staring back. Either me or the morsel of food found in the little kids next to me. I found other favorite fishies like a Sarcastic Fringehead and Mexican Lookdowns (a shiny silver fish with a distinctly aztec brow). The seahorses with their regal tails wrapped themselves around branches of the deep. Rock lobsters clung to red camo walls. Purplestriped jelly fish pulsated with white tresses trailing like wedding trains. I got to pet the stingrays and tiny sharks, feeling their smooth, slick leathery skin. We watched the seals preen for the paparazzi. Lotsa fun under the sea.
I am a man
who stands against the aquarium
and thinks of sushi.
-Paul Rockower, found in Long Beach.
But it was not sushi we went for, although there was a hysterically-placed Bubba Gump's seafood restaurant just outside the aquarium. Who thought that was good marketing is sick. Rather, Rick and I went to Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles. Or almost not, as there was a forty minute wait. He wasn't sure why he should wait nearly an hour for food, so I had to turn on the pd charm and convince Rick to be patient. Well worth the wait for some golden fried chicken and waffles. The table next to us ordered, among many other things, a plate of fried chicken gizzards. Rick and I were curious about the fried delicacy, so we asked the waitress then manager if we could buy a small plate for sample. Rather, the manager said just to ask the table next to us to try, which had been our sheepish intention from the get-go. They offered up and we smiled and took one each. Meanwhile, we chowed down on the immaculate waffles and wings, wrapping up the succulent friend chicken in the buttery sweet waffles and dipping the roll into the syrup. I had to restrain myself from sipping the syrup. A long ride back and a lil saturday nap did me well.
Later that night, I went out for dinner with my friend Naomi to a place in her neighborhood called Farfalla. She had heard the place had good pizza; it was immaculate. Since we are both from the east coast (Jersey & DC) and have found the pizza in LA to be mediocre. The pizza was really, truly excellent, we were impressed and would hold it up as some of the best in all the country. The dough was thin, with the perfect crispness. The eggplant was firm yet soft and the cheese had just the right bite to it. Yum.
Sunday proved trying as the overcast day looked to turn to rain clouds. Twice in two weeks it was poised to rain in LA, something that are roughly lottery numbers. Since the skies looked foreboding, Naomi was kind enough to help me cover my pictures. Alas, the tarps I had purchased the previous week and stashed under the stairs at VKC had been tossed, so we used garbage bags. We grabbed some greek brunch at the legendary Papa Cristos. We saw the mustachioed man himself as we walked in. The diminutive Greek welcomed us. We were welcomed with the best babaganoush on the planet. When I say the best baba, it really is the Gods gift to smashed eggplant. Prometheus himself would offer up his divine liver for the stuff and forgo the fiery gift. That, and some domades that were perfect and a plate of greek salad. Some oozing succulent baklava and greek coffee for desert and I can hear the pounds piling in as I recount my culinary weekend.
Around eleven, the rains began sheeting down, and I regretted not buying more tarps. I convinced Marco to take me to see my babies who were left out to the elements. A father's intuition indeed, as TWO walls had been knocked over by the winds. Some fratkids helped me make the walls right, and thankfully the bags had protected the pics from scratches.
I darted over this morning to find my babies in good order. Some other good news...I found out that I was indeed published for my piece on Pakistani-Israeli relations in the book Muslim Attitudes to Jews and Israelis, edited by Prof. Ma'oz. On another note, I also found out today that I won a student award at USC. I will receive recognition for my contributions on campus, pretty cool.